What Do You Do When You Don’t Play Well With Others?

A question I ask myself often.

This is me.


Well, not me EXACTLY, but you get the idea.  It’s not that I don’t play well with others, it’s just that I don’t…well…DO well with others.  I just don’t GET people.  Remember this?  Innate shyness and socially challenged is definitely part of my genetic makeup.  From where, I’m not really sure, as the rest of my siblings are pretty good at the whole blahblahblah thing.  I bring this up now for a couple of reasons.

I’m currently following the adventures of Stephanie as she gets ready to take on Part Two of her #marathonpalooza madness.  As she globe-trots from Orlando to Chicago to Orlando to Quantico to Orlando to NYC, back to Orlando for the Wine and Dine, and finally closing out the year with the Space Coast Marathon, I wonder first, how the HELL is she going to survive the insanity, and second, how would I handle going all those places and NOT KNOWING NARY A SOUL.  I can tell you.

Now where's my blankie?

Now where’s my blankie?

The second reason this popped out of my game show dollar machine brain is this: my torture master massage therapist Janet was telling me about this running group she ran into (pun intended) purely by accident a few weeks ago.  Hash House Harriers, an international running group, seems to have made its way to my area.  “Drinkers with a running problem” is their tagline, (how could you not love that?), and a group I could possible relate to.  Except for one little bitty problem.  GROUP.  E-GADS, how I hate that word.

scared Jerry


Now let there be no mistake.  I’ll talk to just about anyone after a little liquid courage is involved, but that’s not always conducive at the starting line.  Or the finish line if you think about it.  As much as I try, I just don’t have that innate ability to strike up a conversation with another living, breathing human being.  Now put a pooch in my path, and I’ll yak to them all day long.  But put good ol’ homo sapiens in my path, and I put on my best clam imitation.

Who me?  Noooo, you couldn't be talking to ME?

Who me? Noooo, you couldn’t be talking to me!

I really don’t know what the point is that I’m trying to make, except to say, how the heck do you DO it?  How does one strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger and not have them look at you like you’re a complete idiot?  Okay, idiot factor aside here, I constantly wonder at people’s ability to do just that.  I have heard the most hilarious conversations started in of all places, the mile long lines for those god-awful porta-potties at the start of the Wine and Dine every year.  But if you think about it, what better place to hit it off with complete strangers than standing in line, trying not pee your drawers, and actually TALKING about it??  Some places just incite the no shame rule.

Yes, you actually can Google Portapotties at Disney races and get boatloads of pictures.  Disturbing to say the least.

Yes, you actually can Google Portapotties at Disney races and get boatloads of pictures. Disturbing to say the least.

So I guess the best advice I can give myself – and you – is next time we find ourselves flying solo at a race, just hang out in the bathroom lines.  Guess you’ll never know who you may run into.  Hey, Kara and Shalane have to go at some point, don’t they???


Hi ladies!


Enjoy the ride.

Ever find yourself  holding back from joining a group because you’re just too shy?  Did you do anything about it?  Were you glad you did or did you feel like a total schmuck the entire time?

13 thoughts on “What Do You Do When You Don’t Play Well With Others?

  1. I totally feel the same way when it comes to meeting new people, dealing with new/ different situations, going places I don’t know anyone, etc., but I have to be honest and say that showing up to run club (no matter how awkward and out of place I felt the first time!) was one of the best things I’ve ever done! Everyone was immediately welcoming and I have such a great group of friends out of it!

    I mean talk about being worried about being alone at a race…have you read my recent “New York State of Panic” post?!? I am SO nervous about ending up alone in NYC this weekend!

    Anyways, I say go for it – show up at the run group, see how it goes, and if it’s terribly awkward and the other runners aren’t super friendly and you hate it then you never go back! (I doubt that will be the case though!)

    • I had to laugh reading that post as that is SO me! One good tip: just look for a cop. They can be pretty handy with communication issues. Except, occasionally, when you’re married to them. Hmmm…..
      I think I’ll go for the group thing after Wine and Dine. (that sounded SO much better in my head!) Then I have a little bit of time before I have to start panicking for my next half in February. Don’t sweat NYC! You’ll be fine. Just stay to the INSIDE of the bridge. And cry. Most people can’t run away from someone crying with an animal shirt on. Can they???

  2. As someone who travels a lot for work and therefor, is alone in strange places, a lot, you just learn to deal with it. Sometimes it’s nice not talking to anyone…and other times you just have to put on the big girl panties and start chatting. I try to think of it as me being a hostess–and I want to ensure my guests are having a good time…so I look for someone who maybe wants to chat or looks uncomfortable and I try to make them comfortable. It’s hard, but it can be done. Just say hi, ask open ended questions.

    As for running groups, they are, generally quite friendly…I think it’s all about finding one with the right dynamics. The one that I ran with on Wednesday….outside of my friend, I’m not sure if it will work, but i’m going to give it a chance.

    P.S. not sure if this helps At. All. lol

  3. I definitely feel you on this. I’ve been known to turn down a party invite to stay home in my PJs and play video games by myself for hours. It can be exhausting to be “on” and try to be witty and start conversations with people so you don’t end up glued to your SO or that one other person you know at a party.

  4. So I was in still in my marathon brain on Monday, so I did not get to blog reading. I just found this post and had to respond. I do okay once I know people, but it took me a year and a half to think I was good enough to join the coached (and you pay) running group that I now absolutely adore. My husband even drove me to the 5:50am practice and sat in the car while I ran around the track with the group. That’s how pathetic I am. But if you try the group, you will never look back. Most runners are good people and enjoy meeting others. Time to lace up your shoes and give it a go!

    • Thanks Pam! And that sounds like something my hubs would do as well, even if it involved kicking my butt out the door because I was too anxious to go. I think I’ll eventually get there AFTER race day. I’m in such a zone right now, I don’t want to mess with it. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

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